Liverpool kept their Premier League title push going strong as they overcame a resilient Watford side to win 2-0 at Anfield. The Hornets caused plenty of problems for the hosts from the first minute until the very last, but a goal in either half from Mohamed Salah moved the Reds one step closer to becoming the Champions of England.
There’s a certain composure to this Liverpool team that allows them to remain calm even under immense scrutiny. That gets them out of a lot of tricky situations and could be the key to their title surge. When moving forward, there’s a diverse nature to their build-up play that also ensures that Watford could never really anticipate what was coming next.
The Reds put forward one of their most bizarre defensive displays of the season as they showed the Hornets far too much respect, left gaps open at the back and often struggled to get their foot on the ball. They tend to get away with it most of the time but at points they really were living on the edge and could have easily conceded a goal or two.
Manager Rating (out of 10)
7 — It felt like Jurgen Klopp’s hand was forced ever so slightly when it came to his team selection, but the best thing about the popular German is that he doesn’t second-guess himself. He stuck with a formation that works, made the necessary changes as and when they came, and the passion and intensity we usually see from his team was there as always.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 6 — Had a few questionable moments of timing and judgement, but did what he was required to do when called upon.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 6 — Always provides a wonderful cross when required and looks great going forward, but defensively speaking he’ll continue to provide his side with a few issues.
DF Joe Gomez, 7 — Was lucky with a handball decision in the first half but when it came to putting in the challenges and blocks that would preserve Liverpool’s lead, he came up with the goods.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 7 — Solid as always but certainly needs to improve on the communication between both himself and Gomez and himself and Alisson.
DF James Milner, 6 — Got dragged into an uglier game than he would have liked and struggled with both his vision for passes and pace of the contest.
MF Xherdan Shaqiri, 7 — Required cover too many times in the first half but improved in the second and knocked in a lovely cross for Mane’s disallowed header.
MF Jordan Henderson, 7 — Lets his emotions get the better of him at times, but does the gritty work in the middle of the park that others just won’t.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 6 — Went missing in the first half and while his bursting runs forward are usually positive, many believe Keita offers more to the starting XI.
FW Mohamed Salah, 9 — Had one of those games where he proved why he’s such a valuable asset. The Egyptian’s first goal was delightful and the second was as cheeky as it was inventive.
FW Roberto Firmino, 7 — Started the move for the opening goal but his reputation for being a bull in a china shop often costs Liverpool possession.
FW Sadio Mane, 8 – Produced a great pass for Liverpool’s opener and always serves as one of the most notable thorns in any opposition team’s side.
DF Andrew Robertson, 7 — Provides so many options down the wing, and continues to thrive both in an attacking and defensive sense.
MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 6 — Always seems to have the ability to produce moments of magic from out of nothing, and will serve as a consistent threat whenever he’s in the team.
FW Divock Origi, NR — Set up the second goal for Liverpool without even realising what he was doing and continues to improve his cult hero status.